Mac Mini for iPad only users

I have been iPad only person for a couple of months now. I have iMac at home for my development work, and iPad on the go. However iPad is far from being the perfect solution for development on the go. Hence I am considering bringing a Mac Mini as an always on solution to equip the iPad.
I can connect to it through realvnc while away from home, or LunaDisplay while at home.

Any thoughts about this approach?

Maybe I’m misunderstanding, but what would the Mac Mini do that your current iMac can’t do?

I am keeping it as always on device. I believe the power consumption of Mac Mini is less than half of an iMac. I might be wrong on that.

You can buy a lot of electricity for $800. About 8,000 kWh, or, 8,000,000 watt hours here in the States.

An iMac consumes about 70 watts when idle, 217 max.
Mac mini consumes about 7 when idle, 85 max.

You can work out the math, but you’re talking years and years to break even.

Note that these calculations neglect the difference in heat output. This would matter only when you’re cooling your place.

And I believe Screens can wake up a sleeping Mac, correct?

It’s not an easy calculation, because those are the CPU rating. So it’s true for a Mac Mini which runs headless, but for iMac, once you wake it up, it will turn on a display and a GPU.

I don’t believe the calculation would be that easy.

Still you made a good point, that I need to consider, is it worth the extra Mac Mini to save on power?!

That depends on what Sleep means, it needs to be idle but not Sleep. Once sleep, it disconnects from network, you can’t get it up.

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(WOL) Yep it does so long as it’s a wired connection. Won’t work on WiFi.

The set up you’re after is pretty much exactly what I have and it works well. Reality is that I rarely need to remote in to my mini (I’m not a developer, more a hobbyist).

I opted for mini left to sleep rather than iMac on the basis of power but also I now use mini as Plex server for everything do it meant I got rid of NAS. I wouldn’t have paid full for it but got a good deal second hand.

The power figures I quoted are for the whole machine, gleaned from Apple’s website.

Yes, I know those are from Apple’s website, it’s the same page we both are looking at probably. I won’t say I am expert here on that subject; but on the website, it mentions that the 217W max is the maximum CPU consumptions (not the whole machine).

If you need to do development work on the go a laptop is the way to go. Of course you can do it differently, but that doesn’t seem very practical to me.

I am testing this setup on the devices I have today. If it works fine, then I might complement with Mac Mini as cost minimization, and this is why I was asking about experience with that.

For sure nothing beats the full Mac experience.

From Apple

  • Power consumption data (watts) is measured from the wall power source and includes all power supply and system losses. Additional correction isn’t needed.
  • CPU Max is defined as running a compute-intensive test application that maximizes processor usage and therefore power consumption.
  • These numbers reflect a 23°C (73.4°F) ambient running environment. Increased ambient temperatures require faster fan speeds which increases power consumption. At 35°C (95°F), 50W should be added to reflect increased power consumption.

I.e. whole system power consumption while running a compute-intensive task.

Great to know thanks for the clarification. I appreciate your help.